Fibre Vs CO2 Lasers
What’s the ultimate laser for your application – should I choose Fibre laser, also known as Solid State Laser (SSL), or a CO2 laser?
Answer: It depends on the type and thickness of the material you are cutting.
Why?: Due to the rate at which the material absorbs the laser. You need to choose the right laser for your application.
The absorption rate is influenced by the wavelength of the laser and also the angle of incidence.
Different types of lasers have different wavelengths, for example the fibre (SSL) laser’s wavelength is far smaller at 1 micron than the CO2 lasers wavelength at 10 micron.
The angle of incidence means, the distance between point at which the laser beam hits the material (or surface), perpendicular (at 90) to the surface, so where it makes a T shape.
The angle of incidence increases as the material increases in thickness.
Which laser type for which application?
- Speed – Faster than CO2 lasers in thin materials as the laser can be absorbed quickly slight lead in speed when cutting with Nitrogen (fusion cutting)
- Quality – comparable up to 5mm • Flexibility – low, only suitable for materials up to 5mm in thickness
- Cost per part – less than the CO2 laser, up to 5mm in sheet thickness
- Safety – Strict safety precautions must be taken as the laser can pass straight through to the eye’s retina.
- Beam guidance – fibre optics
- Speed – Faster than Fibre lasers in materials thicker than 5mm as the laser can be absorbed better at higher levels of incidence.
- Quality – Quality is consistent throughout all thicknesses of material
- Flexibility – high, suitable for all material thicknesses
- Costs per part – reduces for materials over 5mm in thickness.
- Safety – CO2 laser light (10µm) is absorbed by the cornea, there is no risk of irreparable damage to the retina.
- Beam guidance – mirror optics.
Cutting with Oxygen (flame cutting) – there is no difference in quality or speed shown between the two types of lasers.
So which type of laser for you?
- If cutting materials mainly under 5mm in thickness, then the Fibre laser is more suitable.
- If you need flexibility and quality throughout all types of materials, then a CO2 laser is best.